I have some news that may surprise you. The season we call fall is finished. Autumn is history.
This is the year, you see, when about one quarter of your calendar will stay un-flipped. Fruit will remain unripened. Leaves unreddened. Corduroys and woolens? They will stay where they are: Deep within your closets and drawers.
How can this be? you say. The answer is as simple as the smile that's been sliced into a pumpkin.
I am saying no.
No to apples. No to extra points. No to the annual death march of dwindling daylight.
It isn't going to be easy. This, I realize. But I am urging you to join me.
Perhaps, like I do, you live only for summer. Maybe you are astonished, like me, by the legions of normally rational people who pick fall as their favorite time of year.
Back to school. Bustling. Hustling. Homecoming, for pity's sake. Mums on porches. Mammoth bags of candy. Halloween.
The list is as frightening as hobgoblins. And it goes on and on.
I mean, don't fall aficionados understand what's going on here? I hate to be the one to scream fire, but what is autumn about if not senescence?
If ever there were a Trojan horse, folks, this is it. It's filled though, not with enemy soldiers, but with reckoning.
What we are talking about is nothing less than the old age of our year. A beloved year in some ways. Full of beginnings back in April. Personal growth in May. Frenzied activity during June. Mature decision-making come July.
Now what've we got on tap? Deterioration. Decrepitude. Dredging out the ear muffs.
You can make your own calculation, but as a man in middle age, I match up with the month of October. I'm not at all sure I'm going to make it farther. Thanksgiving would be nice. Christmas a gift. But even if my harvest is a good one, I can't be sure.
I've got supplements, preventative medicines I can turn to in my quest to stave off physical decline. Don't we have a single prescription or over-the-counter medication for fall?
"Do not go gentle..." Dylan Thomas famously wrote. "Old age should burn and rave at close of day."
This, in a nutshell, is my plan for autumn.
I am going to fight it tooth and nail. Armistice is not an option.
Autumn, you see, depends on acquiescence. Do not go there, I say. Deny it what it wants. Don't open any offerings. No mums. No homecoming games. No pumpkins.
Not a single bag of candy.
This is the year--our year--for saying no.
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Peter Mandel is the author of the read-aloud bestseller Jackhammer Sam (Macmillan/Roaring Brook) and other books for kids, including Zoo Ah-Choooo (Holiday House) and Bun, Onion, Burger (Simon & Schuster).